WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the second episode of The Mandalorian, "The Child," streaming now on Disney+
Almost every aspect of the Star Wars universe has been explored and expanded upon over the years, whether in the current canonical continuity or the discontinued Legends universe. However, one specific group has remained purposefully mysterious over the years. Even though Star Wars has revealed an obsessive amount of detail about characters who make fleeting appearances, the history of the alien race that Yoda hails from remains largely elusive.
Even though another member of Yoda's species has taken on a central role in The Mandalorian, the name of that species and its homeworld remain unknown to this day. Now, we're taking a closer look at what little we do know about Yoda's species.
MEMBERS OF YODA'S SPECIES
In the core Star Wars continuity, we've officially met three members of the mysterious species: Yoda, Yaddle and the newly introduced (and at the time of this writing unnamed) child from The Mandalorian, who's colloquially called "Baby Yoda." Yoda and Yaddle were both members of the Jedi Council, among the most respected and powerful members of the Jedi Order.
Yoda went on to become one of the most important players in the Skywalker Saga that's defined the Star Wars franchise. After leading the Jedi during the Clone Wars, Yoda was eventually forced into exile after Order 66 wiped out most of the Jedi number. He remained in hiding on the small swamp world of Dagobah for decades before being found by Luke Skywalker. He trained Luke in how to become a Jedi, before eventually passing away and becoming one with the Force.
Much less is known about the other two. Yaddle was one of the leaders of the Jedi until the Battle of Naboo, when she stepped down from her position as a member of the Jedi Council. This meant that Yaddle missed much of the Clone Wars and the subsequent Order 66. Although she was killed in the Legends timeline, Yaddle has never been shown actually dying in the new core continuity. In fact, some (like Greez Dritus, a pilot introduced in the newly released Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order) believe that she may have survived the Jedi Purge and could be in hiding.
She was last seen in Force form, fighting alongside a number of other Jedi spirits as they tried to keep Darth Vader from successfully resurrecting his lost love Padme, but Vader killed the apparition with a lightsaber to the chest. It hasn't been confirmed one way or the other what eventually happened to her, or if she did indeed survive the fall of the Jedi.
Meanwhile, the "Baby Yoda" child might be the most mysterious of the three. Introduced at the end of the first episode of The Mandalorian, the child is 50 years old - roughly the equivalent of a toddler for its species. However, its origins remain a mystery, as does the full connection it has to the rest of its race.
The species is so mysterious that even their name is still shrouded in mystery. The few that we've seen tend to have many of the same attributes: they're physically small, with green skin, large eyes, and clawed hands. They can grow hair, as Yaddle proved with her brunette hair when she was a member of the Jedi Council. They're also shown to survive by consuming certain plant and animal life, including amphibians.
This does suggest that the reason Yoda went to Dagobah was to hide from the Empire because the swampy climate would be perfectly suited for his physical needs. It could even be reminiscent of the homeworld this species actually hails from, although that world has never been shown.. The species has a very long life cycle, with Yoda living for multiple centuries before finally passing away and becoming one with the Force. That implicit connection with the Force might be why members of this species live so long, and what makes them so powerful in the first place.
ONE WITH THE FORCE
Even in the Legends continuity, which was more willing to explore the histories of the various species around the galaxy, there was no confirmed name for the species. The Legends continuity did introduce a handful of other members of the species, all of whom were Jedi Masters in their own right. This further suggests that the species has a deep-seated connection to the Force, and that they may be natural Force users. It's also worth noting that all of them were Jedi - and none of them seemed to give into the Dark Side.
The Child from The Mandalorian already possesses a strong connection with the Force, even if it exhausting for the 50 year-old baby to use its powers. Even death doesn't separate their species from the Force - although Revenge of the Sith reveals that it wasn't Yoda or his people who discovered the ability, however. Following his death in The Phantom Menance, the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn retained his identity following his demise when he became one with the Force. Yoda would eventually learn more about these powers through Jinn, who helped Yoda during his trials with the enigmatic Force Priestesses.
This opened up Yoda to the full extent of this power, allowing him to show the ability to Obi-Wan. But beyond even the others who have come back as Force Ghosts, Yoda has been displayed retaining some elements of his worldly powers. He caused a lighting strike and created illusions while speaking to Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi, something no other Force Ghost has been shown doing. It suggests - along with the fact that every other member of the species has also been shown having a connection to the Jedi and the Force - that this might be a natural attribute of their people.
Created by Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog and Nick Nolte. The first two episodes are streaming now on Disney+.